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December 4th, 2012
Scientists find gene link to teenage binge drinking
Scientists have unpicked the brain processes involved in teenage alcohol abuse and say their findings help explain why some young people have more of a tendency to binge drink, Reuters reports. A study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal found that a gene known as RASGRF-2 plays a crucial role in controlling how alcohol stimulates the brain to release dopamine, triggering feelings of reward.
“If people have a genetic variation of the RASGRF-2 gene, alcohol gives them a stronger sense of reward, making them more likely to be heavy drinkers,” said Gunter Schumann, who led the study at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
Alcohol and other addictive drugs activate the brain’s dopamine systems, which induces feelings of pleasure and reward…